More prints for Noi the Albino
by Aminda Leigh
21/11/2003 - The Italian distribution date for the awarding winning Icelandic film, Noi the Albino has been put back by a week (to November 28) for its distributor, Lucky Red to have time to prepare more prints. It will now be released in a combination of around 20 copies.
The film is 29 year old Dagur Kàri’s first feature length film. The Icelandic/Danish/British/German co-production has won more than 20 international prizes, including the MovieZone Award in Rotterdam, two prizes at Sweden’s Gothenburg Festival, the Grand Prix at both Premiers Plans in Angers and Rouen’s Nordic Film Festival, as well as coming away with six Eddas at the Icelandic Film & TV Awards. It is also Iceland's entry for the 2004 Oscars for Best Foreign Film and it’s protagonist, Tomas Lemarquis, has been nominated in the Best Actor category for the upcoming European Oscars, the EFAs.
Noi the Albino is an existential comedy about a child prodigy wandering around his isolated and snowbound village in North West Iceland. As the director explained during a press conference held in Rome for the Italian release of the film, it is “about someone who is different to everyone else around him. The fact that Noi is an Albino isn’t important, this white raven is a metaphor for being different”. Dagur Kari believes the reason behind the film’s success is “because people connect with it. In fact, it has been sold throughout Europe, as well as in Japan, Australia, Korea, Israel and Russia”.
The film has been playing continually in cinemas in Iceland since February, but Kari is disappointed about the results from the domestic market because “Noi the Albino is being mainly seen by older audiences. I wanted teenagers to go and see it as well, because it’s also a film for them. But cinema is very Americanised in Iceland, and teenagers mainly go to see American movies”. The disaffected character of Noi is played by Tomas Lemarquis, who was also in Rome for the Italian launch. He prepared for the role by “talking to the people living in the little village in the North West of Iceland where we shot the film”.
Cineuropa asked the director if winning so many awards has helped the sales of the film. “It all happened very fast” Dagur Kari replied, “the premiere of Noi the Albino in Rotterdam was a big success and then most of the sales came two weeks later, in Berlin. Prizes are very nice, but they don’t mean everything. The most important thing is for the film to create a strong buzz with the public. It’s not essential to show in Cannes to have success in sales”.
Noi the Albino took a long time in post production, and the whole process was so difficult that Kari admitted “at one point I thought the film was cursed. So I was very happy when it came to life again after finally being shown to an audience”. Italian cinemagoers will have the opportunity to judge for themselves when the film is released on November 28.